I had some difficulty with the above painting. A few years ago I had a model regularly do life-modelling for me. She posed for me on numerous occasions over many months. During these sittings, we spoke about anything and everything…, but I never once mentioned the scars on her arms. I often wondered about them, but just thought it inappropriate to talk about them. And I never showed them in my paintings.
I recently read “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. In this book, the main character spends most of his life self-harming, and it was interesting to see how those around him, including his closest friends, although aware of what he did, never spoke about it. Is this the norm?
So I revisited my reference photos and drawings from our various sittings, and thought that this time I would show her scars. I worried about whether it was appropriate to make them the subject of the portrait. But I painted them. And now I’m showing them.
This is a portrait of my friend and fellow artist Tarique. Some of his paintings and ceramics can be found here. It was an interesting challenge painting his painting (which we used as the backdrop), and having to use a quite different palette.
I was recently clearing out my late Mum’s house, when I came across a self-portrait that I must have painted when an Art School – probably 1983-84. I don’t have any of my old student paintings, and so this is an interesting reminder of my old painting technique. I’ve shown it below along with my most recent self-portrait, to show the difference in styles.
I arranged a sitting with a new model for this morning. I had originally advertised on Purpleport.com for a life model, but when Mia responded to the casting, and I had a look at her portfolio pictures, I immediately thought that she would be an ideal subject for a portrait. These sketches show me trying to find the best location for light in my new studio space. It’s a lovely large space, with very large windows, but all that light has created some problems; anywhere away from the windows suffers from rather flat light, and I will probably have to use studio lights for subsequent life drawing sessions.I have not had a portrait sitting for quite a while. Portraits are not as commercial as nudes, and their main value to me is as an addition to my portfolio. In this instance, the main reason why I changed this sitting to a portrait session was because I found the model’s face and features so interesting, and just wanted to put them on paper. It’s also a useful exercise, and good preparation for portrait commissions.